New housing program aims to help victims of deadly Canton tornado

Housing program introduced to help Canton tornado victims

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It’s been more than a year since a devastating tornado in Canton. Lives were lost, homes were destroyed, and peace of mind was stripped from so many.

In an effort to regain what was lost, a new program has been introduced to house those devastated by the storms.

Although Bobbie Barnett may have lost everything she owned …

"Our home, everything in our homes, our livestock, all of our dogs.” Barnett said.

She said that’s nothing compared to the loss of a human life.

“We’re thankful to have that," Barnett said.

In April of 2017, a tornado that was half a mile wide ripped a 40-mile path through Van Zandt County.

“I get PTSD. I don’t know how people in the military, I don’t know how they do it,” said Stacey Buck, a tornado victim.

Buck’s home was torn apart, leaving only the cement foundation behind. They moved a lot, jumping from place to place for months until they were able to afford to rebuild.

“Because there was nowhere, there was nowhere to go, we moved from here to there to here,” Buck said.

Dozens were left without a home after the storm. Now, the East Texas Council of Governments has launched a new housing program that will assist those impacted by disaster in East Texas. With the help of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, the program will support the rebuilding or repairing of up to 70 homes.

“A lot of us have homes, but there are still things we need with the homes, porches, coverings, drainage, down spouts, I mean there is still a lot that people need, it’s just a slow process,” Buck said.

If a victim already has rebuilt on their own, that household would have to apply for rehabilitation assistance. If applicable, they could receive a maximum of $40,000 worth of repairs.

The ETCOG will be holding meetings for those interested in applying for the home disaster relief program. The first meeting will be held tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. at the old City Hall in Canton. Another meeting will be Saturday at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church Fruitvale in Fruitvale.

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